Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Say Recycle, I Say ReSTYLE!

Wow, this is my first post in quite a while which has nothing to do with scrapping or stamping! My inspiration today came from a recent trip to the consignment shop with some kid clothes. My daughter had outgrown a DARLING little shirt that I just couldn't bear to give up. It's kind of ridiculous, really, because we paid like 75 cents for it at a garage sale. But it's vintage Gymboree, which while super-cute does not sell well anyway. Oh, and by vintage, I mead O-L-D; back when they didn't use number sizes at Gymboree old.

Now technically, I think this was originally a toddler jumper dress (the kind under which you wear a shirt), but all the Gymbo-gals I know use them as swing tops in their bigger girls. And my Holly looked so darned cute in this top; we even had her wear it for her Kindergarten picture. (She's now in 1st grade.) As luck would have it, this little top had real tied shoulder straps - not the kind that look tied but are really sewn. So, here's my great idea for not only keeping this treasured item, but using it and seeing it often:

A sweet purse/tote bag! Now is that cute or what? The girls are already arguing over who gets to use it, but I told them it is MINE!

I totally should have taken pictures during the process, but I honestly wasn't thinking it would turn out this well. All together (including hunting for lining), it took me about 30-40 minutes to make. I will note that due to the pockets, I did not construct a flat bottom for the purse. The pockets are so darling, I wanted to keep them usable, hence the tote styling.

Look here, I left the tag in for cuteness factor! I cut the lining from plain old white broadcloth by simply tracing around the shirt. I cut a double layer and sewed the sides together. I slid the lining up under the lining in the top of the shirt (pinning comes in handy here), and sewed through those two layers only on my machine. (You'll want the shirt turned inside out if you do this.)

Next I used my rotary cutter and ruler and cut straight across the bottom through all layers. I sewed the bottom seam on the shirt, then sewed the bottom seam on the lining, leaving the center 4" or so unsewn. After turning it all right side out, I topstitched over the lining seam to close it completely, then stuffed it back down inside the purse. I was looking for speed, and since it's for me I didn't bother whipstitching the remainder of the seam!

Finally, I pulled some matching buttons from my scrapbooking stash to sew the "handles" together. I took both front straps to make one handle and both back straps to make the other. I alternated the direction of the straps and decorative buttons for balance. I did not bother sewing the handles other than through the buttons; I guess I like living dangerously!

Finally, here's the former shirt owner happily displaying the finished product:

Update: I am looking for a "before" picture of the shirt - other than the school portrait. It doesn't show the whole thing, so I'm looking for something better!


  1. Totally cute! Way to recycle!

  2. Love it! I remember that shirt :) So glad you purse-i-fied it :)

  3. LOVE it! You did a great job with turning an outgrown, into a brand new treasure!


  4. Darling! I'd love to see a before shot of the "shirt"

  5. Wow! What a great idea AND great result. I know I have some store bought clothes from my older kids that were favorites and might work for something like this. I will have to go hunting. Thanks!


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